January & February are without a doubt two of the busiest months of the year when it comes to networking.

Events seems to be springing up from all over the place and if you wanted to, you could network your way through the first quarter of the year!

In order to get the most from the busy season, as well as the events themselves, here are my top tips for New Year networking...

1. Know your goals. Before you venture out anywhere this year make sure you've set goals and targets for your business. If you don't know where you want to go, you're definitely not going to get there! 

2. Be strategic. Networking should be approached like any other marketing activity: strategically. Know your target market and how you want to engage with them, then build your diary around the events that are most appropriate. See more on building a networking strategy here

3. Look up from your desk. Speak to your team members and colleagues from other departments; find out what events they're going to so you don't double or triple book. 

4. Networking begins at home. As well as cross-referencing diaries, make sure you're networking internally too! Tell your colleagues about your goals, new products or services, and whom your target market is for them. That way they can make introductions and pass you relevant info they come across on their travels too.

5. Expand your horizons. Don't just attend the same events you've always attended. Now is the perfect time to try some new groups, event styles, or industry specific workshops. Variety is the spice of life after all!

6. Follow up with action. You wouldn't just post an ad on Facebook and never look at the result stats would you? Nope. So make sure you follow up on your networking activities too through emails, information sharing, following people via social or even arranging meetings when appropriate. 

Remember, attending events is just a small part of what makes business networking so powerful. There's ample research, planning and strategy development you can do pre- and post events to help ensure you're achieving the greatest return on investment (ROI) possible. 

Details of our new Networking Training, including practical tips and bespoke strategy creation, will be announced soon. To pop your name on the first-come-first-serve list simply email us at events@sunderlandsoftwarecity.com